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Steve Parry: Team GB will build momentum following phenomenal performances

Olympian and BBC 5 Live commentator Steve Parry gives his reaction to the first swimming finals session at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Steve Parry believes Team GB’s swimmers will build momentum following a number of phenomenal performances during the first finals session of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Although Team GB failed to pick up a medal in the pool, Parry was encouraged by several swims at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre which he hopes will spur on the rest of the squad.

He said the Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay Team of Anna Hopkin, Abbie Wood, Lucy Hope and Freya Anderson should be ‘very proud’ of their performance after shattering their own British record once again – while he backed Max Litchfield to bounce back from a second fourth placed finish at the Olympics.

Litchfield, who was also just outside the medals at the Rio 2016 Games, was 0.21 adrift of a podium place, finishing joint fourth in the 400m Individual Medley.

Parry said: “It was agonisingly close for Max.

“I thought, coming down that last 50m, he just had enough to do it but he swam exceptionally well, given the challenges of having to get up and deliver in a morning which is something he’s clearly not used to.

“He has a great character and is an incredibly hard worker. I would love to see him do it, especially with only one year to go to the Commonwealth Games.

“It was great to see Aimee [Willmott] in the final but it was shame that clearly the morning swim for her was tough.

“Aimee’s journey has been an amazing one and she put herself in a great position in the heats but I think she might be a little bit disappointed. 

“The [Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay team] gave it their all. Anna Hopkin was unbelievable leading out. It was a phenomenal performance by her and I think that’s going to be interesting for the individual [race].

High-quality race

“I think If you said at the start of the year 4x100m team would win the Europeans and break the national record three times not many people would have believed you.

“That quartet has got a lot of potential and will probably go on and pick up a lot more major medals 

“The Aussies were unbelievable with the world record they did but they should be very proud of their performance.”

Parry is looking forward to the Men’s 100m Breaststroke final on Monday 26 July after Adam Peaty and James Wilby booked their place in the race.

He said: “The top six men of all time are in that race which is fascinating.

“Adam really put a marker down with his 57 mid and I still hope Wilby can get in get in the mix on the medals – but it is an incredibly high-quality race.

“I don’t think when the schedule came out people thought we would definitely get a medal on day one.

“I was excited to have three bites of the cherry. It’s not disappointing but maybe a missed opportunity one of the three didn’t convert.

“Let’s hope the momentum really kicks off in the middle of the night, with maybe one, maybe two medals.

“We’ve got so many great performances coming up today in the heats and I’m really excited about tomorrow morning’s finals session.”